Life Health & Wellbeing

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Working the menopause

Strength training can help offset many issues associated with getting older

Push up
Push up
Push up 2
Prisoner squat
Prisoner squat 2
Side plank
Reverse lunge
Reverse lunge 2

Siobhan Byrne

This week it's all about training through the menopause: are there benefits from training during this period and what are they?

From the offset, it is important to understand that training at any age is important and that it is never too late and you are never too old to reap the benefits.

If you read my column, you will know that I am an avid worshipper of strength training for the body. There are so many benefits to our life that can be achieved by simply adding in strength-training exercise, and this follows right through to later in life, even during the menopause.

There are many issues linked with getting older, especially around the menopausal time, including weight gain, diseases associated with weight gain and loss of bone density. Each one of these can individually affect our day-to-day lives.

One of the key areas to look at is muscle strength, and we all know muscle strength deteriorates as we get older. And if you are not using or developing the strength, you will see an impact, as you get older, which may affect your quality of life.

Sarcopenia (a reduction in muscle strength and size) occurs as a result of ageing. There can be many reasons for muscle loss, including poor protein intake, not doing strength training and physical activity, injury or even illness.

The good news, is that the link between consuming adequate amounts of protein and consistency with strength training can help improve and slow down this process, and it gets even better if you factor in the link between strength training and high bone mineral density. This can make a big impact to help prevent osteoporosis, a type of skeletal deterioration characterised by decreasing bone density. Strength training can help by stimulating the osteoblasts, by putting greater load or strain on the bones in a controlled environment.

Consult your doctor about using a progressive strength training programme to help prevent osteoporosis.

Your strength training programme could help reduce the risk of adult diabetes, maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and maintain good bone density - all great factors to be considered throughout menopause.

Strength training

Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week


1/ Start on your knees or toes with hands under the chest and back flat in plank position.

2/ Lower yourself to the ground then back to start position. Keep the back flat throughout.

Prisoner squats

1/ Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and lock your fingers behind your head.

2/ Bend at the hips and knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then simply push back up to the starting position and repeat.

Side plank

1/ Support your body by leaning on your side on your elbow and on the side of your foot, with the opposite foot sitting on top.

2/ Keep your body straight and hold the position. Try to hold the position for at least 15-20 seconds but keeping your form perfect.

Reverse Lunge

1/ Stand upright with your arms straight and by your sides.

2/ Take a step backward, dropping your back knee to the floor and leaning your torso slightly forward, with your weight on your front leg.

3/ Push off your front foot to return to the start position.

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